Oklahoma Black Homesteader Project Team

Kalenda Eaton

Dr. Kalenda Eaton is the Director of Oklahoma Research for the Black Homesteaders Project and an Associate Professor of African & African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is a Humanities scholar focused on African American western studies, intersections of Black literary and gender studies; African American social and cultural history; and Black Diaspora studies. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, and B.A. from Dillard University. She is the author of Womanism, Literature, and the Transformation of the Black Community, 1965-1980 and scholarship on representations of African Americans in American western history, literature, and popular culture. She is known for her teaching and public scholarship on what the experiences of African Americans living on the Great Plains can tell us about American cultural and national politics during the “Gilded Age.” She is a Fulbright scholar, SSRC Mellon-Mays Fellow, and held the Steinbrucker Endowed Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences at Arcadia University from 2017-2019. She has been appointed to key leadership positions at several universities and has over two decades of administrative experience in academic program management, graduate studies, undergraduate research, global studies (including international education), and Humanities scholarship.

Heidi Dodson

Dr. Heidi Dodson is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Black Homesteaders Project. She is a historian specializing in late nineteenth and twentieth-century African American community building, migration, social movements, and oral history. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has an MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin. Heidi is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, provisionally titled “Following the River”: Black Migration and the Politics of Place in the Missouri Delta. Her work interrogates the intersections of rural migration, activism, and place in the Border South. She also has a strong interest in public and digital history and has project experience with digital community archives. Heidi previously held positions as a Humanities in the World Postdoctoral Scholar at Penn State University and a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Scholarship at the University at Buffalo. Her work has been published in Buildings & Landscapes and the Missouri Historical Review.

Elizabeth Thomas

Elizabeth Thomas is pursuing a dual master’s degree in History and Library Science from the University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on 20th century social movements, most notably the Black Freedom Movement and the university student rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In May 2022, Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Oklahoma State University (OSU). While at OSU, she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Brandy Thomas Wells on the Women of Black Wall Street digital project.

Kris Murray

Kris Murray is a master's student enrolled in the Anthropology program at the University of Oklahoma. She is a board member at the Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum, volunteers at the Sam Noble Natural History Museum in the archaeology department, interns at the Medical Examiners office in Oklahoma City, and is a support advocate at the Women's Resource Center. Her research interest centers around Black history in medicine and culture, the body, facial symmetry, and human osteology. She recently co-curated the exhibit "Sundown: An Examination of Norman's History as a Racist Sundown Town" at the Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum.

Carlen Jones

Carlen Jones is an undergraduate student at the University of Oklahoma pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in African and African American Studies with a minor in Psychology. A native of Okmulgee, OK, her interests are African and African American social and political movements, colonialism, history, literature, and culture. She studied Native American Studies at the College of Muscogee Nation before transferring to The University of Oklahoma. She researches African American migration patterns in Oklahoma focusing on the Cherokee Freedmen, Black town settlements and state migration.